Certificate of Completion

About the offering

GTUx’s Certificate of Completion for Ecospirituality: Environmental Pathways to Healing is a professional development program that weaves together our spiritual connection to the natural world and planetary sustainability efforts. In this GTUx program, Dr. Rita Sherma offers insights from her research and invites guest speakers to discuss how we might newly define the relationship between the Earth and spirituality. 

In this continuing education program, you will learn:

  • How the individual self and our communities relate to the environment
  • The micro and macro systems that shape our economic and political responses to environmental practices
  • Sustainable solutions to promote positive environmental change within ourselves and our communities

This professional development program is excellent for those working in human services, spiritual care, wellness, ministry, or those looking to explore the intersection of planetary sustainability and spirituality. 

The Certificate of Completion for Ecospirituality: Environmental Pathways to Healing will provide 3.5 contact hours after the learner has completed the following: 

  • Viewed two GTUx Originals to completion: Ecospirituality: Environmental Pathways to Healing Parts I & II (total runtime ~140 minutes) 
  • Viewed two GTUx Lectures to completion: Greening Spirituality and A Meeting of the Waters (total runtime ~70 mins) 
  • Completed a Knowledge Quiz with a score of at least 80% 

Topics Covered

Ecospirituality: Environmental Pathways to Healing Part 1 focuses on the relationship of the individual to nature. Topics covered in this segment include: 

  • An understanding of the spiritual and psychological aspects of the self 
  • Exploration of the relationship between a strong ecological connection and psychological wellbeing 
  • Analysis of human development in relation to environmental systems 
  • Religious and spiritual foundations for this symbiotic relationship of nature with humanity 
  • How humans can live in a healthy relationship to the environment 
  • How to enact positive change in our personal relationships to nature 

: Environmental Pathways to Healing Part 2 

The second segment of educational modules moves from the micro (the self) to the macro (the community) in exploring systems that surround environmental practices and policies. Topics covered here are: 

  • The societal constructions that create unstable environments and unhealthy relationships with nature and humanity 
  • Historical and present-day examples of communities living and working in right relationship to their natural surroundings 
  • The intersection of social justice and environmental justice  
  • Ethics that build positive relationships within our communities and with the natural world 

Additional GTUx Lectures 
Additional learning segments include two GTUx lectures “Greening Spirituality” and “A Meeting of the Waters.” In these lectures you will explore: 

  • How spiritual practices and sacred scriptures relate to the environment 
  • Historical examples of how the creative arts embrace and express the spirituality of the verdant world 
  • The sacrality of nature in different spiritual traditions 
  • Learn directly from thought leaders and scholars 
  • The online education program is self-paced, allowing you to progress as best fits your needs with on-demand, flexible online learning modules 
  • 3.5 contact hours that can be applied to accreditation requirements 
  • Access to the dynamic and engaged GTUx community for discussion  
  • Online learning divided into easy-to-navigate segments of study 
  • Access to additional GTUx lectures, which go deeper into the topic of ecospirituality: “Greening Spirituality” and “A Meeting of the Waters” 
  • Expand your scope of practice within your profession to incorporate skills and insights from the professional development program 

This professional development program is designed to enhance your personal and professional skills to enable you to more deftly navigate the intersections of planetary sustainability and spirituality, and to learn to better understand the micro and macro systems that surround and inform environmental practices, policies, and issues.  

After completing the certificate of completion program, you will receive 3.5 hours of contact hours that can be applied to accreditation requirements. Those who wish to enroll and use these hours toward continuing education requirements should check with their employer and/or professional association to confirm whether these hours will be accepted. You are also encouraged to add the certificate to your professional resume and LinkedIn account.  

We encourage anyone who would like to go deeper on their learning journey to explore graduate degree programs offered by the Graduate Theological Union 

GTUx learners are a rapidly growing, hopeful community who view learning and discourse as forms of activism and compassion. While this continuing education program will be completed online and asynchronously, you will have access to the community forums within the learning modules and be able to interact with fellow learners on the GTUx Facebook and Instagram accounts.  

This program is designed for those who are interested in the intersections of sustainability and spirituality and may particularly appeal to those who work in fields such as human services, spiritual care, or ministry.  

Dr. Rita D. Sherma is founding Director and Associate Professor at the Center for Dharma Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. She is a member of the GTU’s Core Doctoral Faculty and serves as Co-Chair of the Sustainability 360 Initiative.  

Formerly, she was the Swami Vivekananda Visiting Professor in Hindu Studies at USC, Los Angeles. She holds an MA in Women’s Studies in Religion, and a PhD in Theology & Ethics from Claremont Graduate University, CA.  

Sherma is co-founder of the American Academy of Religion’s Hinduism Program Unit. She is the founding Vice President of DANAM (Dharma Academy of North America)—a scholarly society for research on Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain religious & interreligious studies—and serves on the Board of the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies.  

Sherma has authored/edited/co-edited several books and is the founding Editor-in-Chief of “Journal of Dharma Studies.” She serves on the Editorial Board of “Reading Religion” Journal (an AAR publication). Her pedagogical approach goes beyond encounters in the classroom to create collaborations with her students in research, writing, publications, and sponsoring students’ leadership in their disciplines. 

Dr. Devin Zuber is the associate professor of American Studies, Religion, and Literature at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. He currently serves as the Chair of the Department for Historical and Cultural Studies of Religion. 

Formerly, he was a professor at the University of Osnabrück and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany, and at Queens College in New York City. He holds a BA from Bryn Athyn College, an MA from Queens College, and a PhD in English Literature and an MPhil from CUNY. 

Zuber teaches in the GTU’s PhD program’s concentrations for Art & Religion, New Religious Movements, and Religion & Literature, his position being housed at the GTU’s Center for Swedenborgian Studies (CSS). 

Zuber’s research and teaching interests lie within religion & literature and/or religion & the arts, western esotericism and New Religious Movements, and the environmental humanities broadly construed.

Additional Contributors:

  • Dr. Kathryn Barush
  • Debashish Banerji
  • Dr. Valerie Miles-Tribble

GTUx will be hosting information sessions throughout the year. Subscribe to our newsletter or check our event listings to be notified of upcoming sessions.

To be in touch with a representative directly to discuss the program, please email enrollgtux@gtu.edu.

Program fees for GTUx professional development programs begin at $35 per contact hour. The Certificate of Completion for Ecospirituality: Environmental Pathways to Healing offers 3.5 contact hours, equating to $122.50 for enrollment.